Crete in detail

Planning Tips

Pre-departure Checklist

  • Ensure your passport is valid for at least six months after your arrival date.
  • Make bookings for accommodation and travel, especially in high season.
  • Check airline baggage restrictions, especially for regional flights.
  • Inform your credit card company of your travel plans.
  • Organise travel insurance.
  • Check if you’ll be able to use your mobile (cell) phone.

What to Take

  • Hat, sunglasses, sunscreen
  • Waterproof money belt
  • Credit and debit cards
  • Driving licence/international driving licence
  • Diving qualifications
  • Spare phone for local SIM
  • Mainland European power adapter
  • Lock/padlock
  • Seasickness remedies
  • Mosquito repellent
  • Lightweight raincoat
  • Swimwear, snorkel and fins
  • Earplugs
  • A hollow leg – for all that raki

What to Wear

Crete is casual. Locals wear simple but respectfully covered-up clothes. In summer, the heat will make you want to run naked; instead bring quick-drying tops and cool dresses. Bars or fashionable restaurants require more effort – the scene is stylish rather than dressy. Think tops and trousers rather than T-shirts and cut-offs. Don’t wear swimsuits into shops and tavernas without a cover-up. Cretans also take their churches seriously: don’t go inside wearing hats, tank tops, short shorts or miniskirts. Sturdy walking shoes are a must for treks and ruins. Cretans will not go nude on beaches; you’ll see some Europeans do it, but it pays to be respectful of locals and therefore discreet.

Resources

Visit Greece (www.visitgreece.gr) Greece’s official tourism portal.

Cretan Beaches (www.cretanbeaches.com) Excellent site about beaches and more.

Explore Crete (www.explorecrete.com) Good general travel site.

Interkriti (www.interkriti.org) Comprehensive guide to the island.

Crete Region (www.crete.gov.gr) Official government site.

Lonely Planet (www.lonelyplanet.com/crete) Destination information, hotel bookings, traveller forum and more.

Top Tips

  • If at all possible, visit in the shoulder seasons – mid-May to June and September and October. The weather is softer and the crowds are slim.
  • Be sure to visit a few out-of-the-way villages, where you can still find full-on, unselfconscious traditional culture. The best way to do this is to rent a car and explore. Stop for lunch, check out the local shops and test out your Greek.
  • Visit at least one local kafeneio (coffee house), one seafood taverna on the waterfront, and one traditional live-music venue. This is where you’ll experience Cretan culture at its most vibrant.
  • Slow down and explore Crete on foot. In all regions, you'll find wonderful and often deserted trails along the coast, in the mountains and cutting through stunning gorges.